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Standing on the Corner: Seven Prepared Pianos for the Seven African Powers

June 1–October 9, 2023

MoMA PS1

For their first durational museum presentation, the avant-garde musical ensemble Standing on the Corner (est. 2016) creates installations that encompass sound, performance, and moving image. Forging connections between New York City, Puerto Rico, and African diasporic communities, the project imagines how spiritual forces enchant and ‘possess’ through various forms of entertainment, and considers how sacred objects are intended to be seen. Citing the visual languages of religion, classical music, carnival, sports, and surveillance, the installation features a new performance piece titled Seven Prepared Pianos for the Seven African Powers (2023). This work bridges Standing on the Corner’s interest in the localized cultural and ancient spiritual practices of Africa and the Caribbean, and proposes the destruction of Western musical traditions. The project will be on view during museum hours with set performance dates to be announced.  

Standing on the Corner is led by Gio Escobar (b. 1995, New York). They have performed at MoMA PS1’s Warm Up music series in 2018 and venues such as the Serpentine, London; Bourse de Commerce — Pinault Collection, Paris; Blank Forms, New York; Performance Space New York; and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York. Their albums include Function OST (2021), Red Burns (2017), and Standing on the Corner (2016). They have collaborated with musicians such as MIKE (2017, 2018), Earl Sweatshirt (2018), Solange (2019), and Danny Brown (2021).

Standing on the Corner is organized by Ruba Katrib, Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, MoMA PS1.

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Gio Escobar reading “Man May Not Last”, 2022.